“What is in it for you?”
That is the first question I always receive from people when I share them a new path I decided to take for my career. Well, I understand how it’s really difficult to grasp a concept of something that’s very foreign to the ear, but I just can’t help but notice this always slight hint of disappointment from people who expects you to just follow the norm, to be this person they expected you to be – to become a doctor one day, anticipated to be sporting that white coat as I do my rounds in hospitals I’m affiliated to.
Since childhood, it has always been my greatest dream of becoming a doctor. Perhaps, an estimated huge chunk of children in the Philippines might have aspired for the same thing since childhood; which is really cute to look back in the past because we all do have the same reason to say as to when they ask us “Why?”, because we all wanted to help those who are sick.
I can, perhaps, consider myself very fortunate to have such supportive parents, with emphasis on my education, because they sent me to one of the best nursing schools in the Philippines – primarily because we all have assumed it’s the best pre-medical program to take. Going through and finishing nursing school was when I realised that my naive aspiration of becoming a doctor just because I wanted to help those who are sick is only superficial. That was also when I realised that helping those who are sick, doesn’t always require you to be sporting that white coat, and becoming a health care professional can be more than that.
I can consider taking Masters in Health Informatics in University of the Philippines – Manila be one of the greatest leaps I made in my life. Not only that planning on taking the program doesn’t involved any approval or advised from my parents, but I decided everything for myself – which was honestly quite a struggle to make, but I felt good after.
“What’s in it for you?” my mom blurted out of surprise when I told her I applied for the program. That was after I had my interview a day before I flew to Hong Kong alone for a short vacation.
My understanding of what Health Informatics is, and how important it is actually was shaped when I worked for my current company. Although I do have a course of Nursing Informatics during my undergrad years, my interest of the course isn’t blooming yet. Working in my current company, opened my eyes to how amazing the advancement of technology is, and all the great stuff it could possibly do in the health care system. It’s just quite upsetting how much attention and work still has to happen for our country in achieving a better health care system, despite the many initiatives and developments the government started. Yet, I believe we do have the ability to make things happen, and I still trust that there’s still hope in healing our health care system here in the Philippines – hopefully gaining higher quality, higher efficiency, and better opportunities for both health care professionals and patients.
One thing my mentor has reminded me before is to always remain a student of my craft; and with almost the daily vast and rapid advancement that’s happening in technology, adapting to its’ global trend is definitely necessary. As Health Informatics in the Philippines isn’t that well-known yet, we can’t just let our health care system continue to suffer the same issues encumbering progress we’re battling since before.
Although, I perhaps may no longer be sporting a white coat in the future, I know this new direction I’m taking will open and bring me to better places and opportunities in terms of my career in the future. Taking a brave step to being one to joining in pioneering and leading this change in the Philippine health care system excites me – just imagining the amount of filipinos we could possibly touch and hep live healthier lives.